Hot Connect feature allows connection and disconnection of a slave device while system is operating without interruption. Once a device is defined as hot connect, it can be added or removed from the network either before or during the operation of the system. The hot connect feature will not cause interruptions or corruption of signals in the system. The EtherCAT network topology configured for Hot Connect is also referred to as “flexible topology”.
Hot Connect is an extended feature to KPA EtherCAT Master Stack, available in master Premium packages. Hot Connect allows handling any number of modules, hence creating scalable models. Newly added slaves are automatically switched to the operational state.
This feature is most valuable in the following cases:
- Production process that requires periodic measurements of such parameters as temperature, pressure, etc.
- Large systems that is divided into classes
- Applications in which topology changes are frequently made
Devices with Hot Connect connectivity may be configured as individual slaves (drives, terminals, sensors, position encoders, etc.) or as groups of slaves (couplers & terminals). It is highly recommended to use device identification for correct detection of Hot Connected slaves. For example, to resolve slaves which have the same vendor, product code and revision number, device identification helps to find the certain slave for the function. Also, it should be noted that upon establishing connection to a Hot Connect group, some additional network activities are required, which may lead to a several seconds of delay. These activities include:
- Establishment of an Ethernet link
- Device configuration
- Switching device to Operational state
- DC synchronization if necessary
Thus, considerable reduction of the maintenance and development time is a key benefit of Hot Connect enabled networks.